Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Droid "Eh"ris

Almost 3 years ago I got a new cell phone. The coolest feature on it? A big speaker. I even told my wife I didn't need a camera. The past three months I started doing research. My school district provided me with a Blackberry, but it was of course (and understandably) limited to work related use. That meant carrying the Blackberry on the belt and the big speaker in my pocket. It got old quick. Knowing that my 2 year Blackberry contract would be up in May, seeing the rest of my department give up their dual phones and seeing the writing on the wall that I wasn't going to get a stipend for a personal phone, I thought about what phone would be my next. I wanted one that kept me in touch with my PLN. I grew to dislike the Blackberry, especially the web browser. Granted, I got spoiled by my iPod Touch, but the iPhone wasn't a feasible option right now. After looking at the Motorola Droid and doing some Google searching, I found the HTC Droid Eris. The Droid Eris runs Google's Android operating system (1.5, as opposed to Motorola's Droid runs the 2.0).

There are some things I love about the Droid Eris:
  • I love the web browser. Extremely similar to the iPod Touch. Double click to resize. Realistic looking websites. Yeah!
  • I love the 7 screen Sense user interface. It's great to have a screen that shows my whole calendar, another that just has a Twitter screen, etc.
  • I love that it's on Verizon. The reason I didn't get an iPhone is simple - it's on AT&T. One month when we were on Alltel (which was bought by Verizon), we had a 1000 shared minute plan. We were charged for 92 minutes in the month. But we actually talked on the phones for over 1100 minutes. Do the math - all of our friends are on the same network and it's not AT&T.
  • Your contacts are synced with Facebook or Flickr, including profile pics. A necessity, no, but dang cool.
  • The 5 megapixel camera works great. I love how great of pictures it's takes. You never know how much you've missed until you have it.
  • Being a phone with a Google operating system, it obviously works great with a Google account. Having the Google sync on my PC let's me sync my Outlook calendar. While I can pay a higher data fee with Verizon to get my Outlook email sent to my phone, I'm working on a way around that :)
  • A touch screen keyboard. While it can be a little slow to react, I'd much rather have the touch screen than the slide out.
However, there are some things I dislike:
  • The battery. With Twitter and Facebook apps, the more they refresh the more the battery drains. Generally, I have to charge it once a day. While reading reviews, this was the biggest issue that everyone mentioned.
  • Android apps. Why am I disappointed by Android apps? Because I have an iPod Touch. There is no comparison. Android's basic apps are fine (Twitter, Facebook), but I play EA Sports games on my iPod. There is nothing like that in the Android Store.
  • The sync software. I thought we were past this...but the software is PC only. On one hand, I get it. It may not be worth their time. But wouldn't it be an olive branch to Mac users? I'm working on syncing with Parallels, but am running into a to-be-determined issue. You can mount the Eris to your Mac via USB and drag pics, etc., to and from your phone, but it's not a sync.
  • Browser speed. Once again, it's not an iPod Touch. It could be something to do with wifi vs. phone network, but I don't have a top tier home network.
All in all, I'm satisfied with the Droid Eris. I think I've been spoiled with my iPod Touch, so maybe some of my criticisms are a little harsh. The biggest thing I wish they'd upgrade is the battery. Maybe I'd be smarter to just plug it in while driving...but I don't want to. HTC has said they are going to upgrade to the new Android 2.0 operating system in 2010 (including turn-by-turn Google Maps directions!), so I'm excited for that. The Droid Eris is a top 10 smartphone, and I think it's the perfect phone for my situation.

Here is a review from Mobile Tech Review


UndrcoverAngel4life said...

Thank-you for leaving your comments on comparing all the droid cell phones and their features. This will be helpful for me in the next purchase for a droid cell phone.

J Allen said...

Not a problem! Glad it helped.

One other note, the default clock that you see in the commercials and comes on your phone also pulls the weather. I've changed the type of clock that doesn't include weather and that may have helped the battery life. One less thing to sync.